Walkers in driving seat with tens champs at 2nd Skipton NEMSA highlight The Walker family, from Higher Brennand Farm, Dunsop Bridge, consigned the champion pen of 10 at the second annual gimmer lamb show and sale for members of the North of England Mule Sheep Association (NEMSA) at Skipton Auction Mart. (Tues, Sept 13)

While regularly among the prizes at the annual NEMSA highlights, the Walkers - husband and wife, Geoff and Margaret, and their two sons, John and Rob – were winning the flagship show class at the second ewe lamb fixture for the first time.
They took the title with a pen of which half were by home-bred tups, four by their Midlcok H2 and K20 rams, plus one by a Silverhill tup. All were out of home-bred Swaledale ewes which roam freely on 6,000 acres of predominantly fells high above Lancashire’s Forest of Bowland.
The Walkers, long-standing NEMSA members, who were stepping up markedly on their fifth prize win in the 10s class at the opening show a fortnight earlier, saw their frontrunners sell for the day’s top call of £190 per head to Geoff and Margaret Booth, of Lothersdale.
The Kitching family, from Grisedale Farm, Threshfield – brothers Richard and Charles, and their sons Frank, Jack and Thomas –  who picked up tickets with their 10s at the first show, also stepped up a gear by grabbing the championship in the 20s show, a class they also won two years ago.
Their 2018 victors were by a variety of stock tups - a trio bred by the Smearsett, Riddings and Midlock flocks, others by their home-bred sons, the remainder by sons of the family’s old Heron tup. They went on to sell locally for £142 per head to RM Shackleton in Broughton.
The Kitchings, who are significantly increasing their Mule numbers from their base in the Yorkshire Dales - Frank Kitching is chairman of the Skipton branch of NEMSA – were also among the prizes with three further pens in both show classes. They finished fourth and fifth in the 10s, these selling at £138 and £140 per head respectively, and fifth with their 20s, sold for £105.
Barden father and son, John and Joe Fawcett. produced the second prize pen of 10, knocked down for £145, while North of England Mule Sheep Association chairman Kevin Wilson, 10s champion at the high profile Skipton opener a fortnight earlier, was again prominent when consigning the third prize winners in the same show class, sold for £155.
Mr Wilson, who farms with his wife Daphne and their son, James, at Hewness House Farm, Blubberhouses, also sent out the runners-up in the 20s show class, sold at £138. Most in the family’s prize-winning pens were again by their F1 Bighead tup, others by his home-bred sons.
The third prize pen of 20s from Ken Throup and family in Silsden, made £102, bettered by the £114 per head fourth prize pen from the Walker family in Appletreewick, with Otley’s Francis and James Caton selling their sixth prize pen at £100.
Outside the show classes, also doing well on price were Joe and Nancy Throup, of Draughton, with the second top call £175 pen, with further £150 and £142 pens consigned by John and Rose Tennant, of Bordley, and Embsay’s John and Claire Mason.
Craven Cattle Marts again presented special prizes for the highest flock averages. Of those consigning100 or more lambs, the Appletreewick Walkers did best with 123 averaging £90.98, followed by the Wilsons with 130 at £89.77 and KM&L Throup with146 at £82.80
Heading the averages for consignees of less than 100 lambs were RA Busby & Son, of Marrick, Richmond, with 30 at £92, Allan and Sue Throup, of Silsden Moor, with another 30 at £91.33 and the Dunsop Bridge Walkers with 80 at £88.69.
CCM Auctions’ livestock sales manager Ted Ogden noted: “Trade was very much as expected, strong lambs and smart lambs receiving a good following and a sharp trade for top pens and good bodied lambs with nice skins.  Middle runs of lambs were still fairly decent, in the £70s and £80s, while running lambs were mainly in the £60s, a few late £50s.”
The J Marsden Perpetual Trophy was awarded to the winners of the 10s show class, co-judged by Margaret Watkinson, of Hutton Sessay, and Janice Broughton, from Melton Constable, Norfolk, with the WCF Perpetual Trophy presented to the victorious 20s, which had local judges in Sam Chapman, from Broughton, and Will Gore-Browne, of Silsden.
Skipton’s third annual open seasonal show and sale of North of England Mule gimmer lambs takes place on Tuesday, October 9, which also features annual shows and sales for Dales Mule, Swaledale and Masham gimmer lambs, the last again on behalf of Masham Sheep Breeders Association.